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Hong Kong Airlines has confirmed the closure next month of its daily 'all business class' service between Hong Kong and London’s Gatwick Airport.
"The last flight from London to Hong Kong will be on September 10," Hong Kong Airlines General Manager Albert Chan told Dow Jones Newswires, signalling an end to the seven month old route which has been estimated at costing A$1.2 million per month to run.
Hong Kong Airlines launched the daily shuttle in March this year, using three new Airbus A330-200s with just 116 business class seats split across 34 lie-flat Club Premier ‘suites’ and 82 Club Classic recliners. (By way of comparison, Qantas' international versions of the same aircraft pack some 253 seats across both business and economy class.)
Hong Kong Airlines will make the all-business class A330s availablke for high-end charter flights rather than deploy them onto existing or new routes within Asia.
Rumours of cut-backs to the Hong Kong - London Gatwick service have been swirling for months, with reports of consistently low passenger numbers.
Earlier this week, listings provided by the airline to the global distribution system (GDS) used by travel agents indicated cancellation of the route was imminent.
The move follows a decision by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department to halt the expanson of Hong Kong Airlines following complaints about its service standards, according to Reuters.